In the last half of the 19th Century Russia and France developed a close relationship as a counter-balance to the United Kingdom . The Russian tended to follow French naval strategic theory, as well as French warship design theory. France never could out-build the Royal Navy in battleships, so the Jeune Ecole (Young School) came up with the theory that rather then loose the battleship building race with the Royal Navy, it would be better to build masses of small, cheap, expendable craft that could sink an expensive battleship with a torpedo. France began to build a large volume of small, cheap torpedo boats that would use high speed to close with battleships. Imperial Russia also adopted the theory and began mass production of torpedo boats. As the 19th Century turned into the 20th Century a new form of torpedo boat emerged as a usable warship. This warship would not use high speed but instead would use stealth by hiding under the water and the submarine began to be built in large numbers. Russia adopted the new technology.

Not much of the Imperial Russian Navy survived the First World War and those ships that did survive were in poor repair with unhappy crews. In the 1920s was in a very precarious financial condition. With the catastrophic damage to the Russian infrastructure as the result of the First World War followed by the Russian Civil War, there was very little money to fund the military and what little money was around went to the Red Army. The navy certainly didnít have money for construction of large warships. Because of the financial shackles the Soviet Navy resorted to the poor manís weapon, the submarine. Soviet Russia and the German Weimar Republic were the outcasts of Europe and they gravitated towards each other. Germany certainly had designers with expertise at building submarines and they couldnít ply their trade in Germany , as submarines were forbidden to Germany under the Versailles Treaty. So they went to Russia to continue their trade. This helped both countries, Russia received technical expertise in submarine design and construction and Germany benefited in having their designers continue to evolve the submarine, through the Russian submarine design and construction. By 1939 the Soviet Navy had a great number of submarines. 

The Second World War wrecked the Soviet industrial infrastructure, just as the First World War and Russian Civil War had wrecked the Russian infrastructure. Again Russia benefited from German innovation in the form of capture U-Boats like the Type XXI and more importantly captured German designers. Joseph Stalin continued the development of the submarine but Stalin was a big navy proponent and wanted to restart a building program with cruisers and battleships. The first round was the large number of light cruisers of the Sverdlov class. When Stalin died in 1953 the big ship navy died with him. Khrushchev wanted to use high technology to counter the West, missiles and advanced submarines. Under the new administration the Soviet Navy began to build attack submarines in record numbers. They started out with improved diesel submarines patterned after the German Type XXI and given the NATO Code name Whiskey Class. The first unit appeared in 1950, while Stalin was still alive but production numbers soared under Krushchev. A total of 236 Whiskey class diesel submarines were produced with the series production ending in 1957.

Near the end of production a new type of Soviet submarine was introduced. Concurrently, a larger, longer range attack submarine with the NATO Code name Zulu class were produced in much smaller numbers with 26 built. A third type of attack submarine went the opposite direction with than half the displacement of the Whiskey and only one fifth the displacement of the Zulu, the 30 Quebec class submarines were throw-backs to the WWI and WWII coastal submarines. In the attack type the Romeo Class built 1958-1961 was a slightly improved Whiskey. Only 20 were built, as the larger Zulu class made for a much better open ocean submarine. 

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The Foxtrot class was an improved Zulu with total produced of 62 from 1958 to 1967. The Foxtrot class was the largest and had the heaviest displacement of any Soviet attack submarine to that date. Called by the Soviet navy Project 641, NATO gave the code name Foxtrot. The design marked a further sea change in Soviet naval strategy that started with the Zulu class. The Whiskey class displaced 1,050-tons surfaced, 1.350-tons submerged and was not much different in size than the standard World War Two submarine and had a range of 6,000nm submerged at 5 knots using a snorkel to stay submerged. The following Romeo class was not much different with a displacement of 1,330-tons surfaced and 1,700-tons submerged and a range of 7,000nm submerged at 5 knots. The little Quebec class was only 400-tons displacement surfaced and 540-tons submerged and was considered a small coastal version of the Whiskey/Romeo classes.

The strategic change started with the Zulu class. Not only was it twice the displacement of the Whiskey class, at 1,900-tons surfaced and 2,350-tons submerged, but also displayed a large increase in range and submerged speed with a submerged speed of 8-knots and a submerged range of 9,500nm. The Foxtrot was a larger improvement over the Zulu in displacement and range, with a surface displacement of 1,950-tons and 2,400-tons submerged and a submerged range of 11,000nm at 8 knots. The Foxtrot corrected weaknesses discovered in the Zulu design, which restricted her maximum depth and submerged speed. The two classes marked a permanent shift in strategic thinking. It moved away from all previous strategy of small and mid-size submarines with limited range, designed as defensive weapons for guarding the sea approaches of the Soviet Union to the new strategy of large attack submarines with long range to use as offensive weapons in deep water. They carried ten 533mm torpedo tubes, six forward and four aft and could carry 22 torpedoes or as an alternate 44 mines. Dimensions were 300-ft 3-in long (91.5m), 24-ft 7-in beam (7.5m) and a draught of 19-ft 8-in (6.0m). Maximum surface speed was 16-knots and maximum submerged speed was 15.5 knots using a snorkel. The Foxtrot was a maximum range of 350nm at 2 knots using batteries alone. 

Plan & Quarter Views
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Forty five were built between 1958 and 1967 and then no new Foxtrots were built for the next four years. The balance of the class was delivered from 1971 and thereafter for a total run of 58 boats for the Soviet Navy. They were built not just for the Soviet navy but also as an export design to Soviet clients and non-aligned countries. India bought 8, Libya 6 and Cuba 6, although Poland and the Ukraine also acquired some Foxtrot boats originally commissioned into the Soviet Navy. The Soviet boats were mostly deployed in the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean . The Soviet boats mostly received names Young Communist City Branches (Komsomolets). Four Soviet Foxtrot boats were stationed in the waters off Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Destroyers of the USN began dropping practice depth charges and forced three of the four to the surface. It is fortunate that the superpowers found a resolution to the crisis what the USN didnít know was that the Soviet Foxtrots were equipped with nuclear tipped torpedoes. From 1995 to 2000 the Soviets retired their Foxtrots and the last Indian Foxtrot was retired as recently as 2010.

Admiralty Model Works Foxtrot
Coming from Admiralty Model Works, quality components is guaranteed and their 1:700 scale models of the Foxtrot donít disappoint. Thatís right, models plural not singular. Admiralty provides two Foxtrot models in the box, one waterline and one full hull. In 1:700 scale I normally prefer waterline format but so much of the hull of a submarine is below the surface that I really like the full hull version to get all of the strangely shaped bow of the Foxtrot. The full hull version is cast on a resin runner along the centerline but the waterline version was cast on a resin casting sheet. Both will need minor sanding to clean up the juncture between the casting mechanism and the model. The waterline version will need to be sanded lightly along the waterline to remove the remnants of the casting sheet, while the full hull version needs the sanding along the centerline of the bottom. Casting quality is excellent with no voids, blobs, pinholes or other deformities, which can beset casting resin parts. 

Hull Detail
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With most submarine kits you get the hull casting but few smaller resin pieces but with the Admiralty Foxtrot you get the hull casting plus 24 smaller resin pieces.  The attraction for any subject can be based on a number of factors, history, design significance, architecture as primary factors. The Foxtrot has a significant position in the evolution of Soviet attack boats but for me, it is the boatís architecture that is most attractive, especially the bow. It certainly has a classic shark profile with a bulbous sonar fitting at the top and sharp angled cutwater. There is certainly plenty of detail cast into the model, which is finely cast and not overdone. Primary among these are the very detailed torpedo tube doors and bow deck fitting resembling a miniature sail. The inset anchor wells with anchor hawse angled down is another attractive feature. From the photographs it is difficult to see all of the deck and hull detail that is present because it is some much in scale as opposed to be overdone. There are numerous square limber holes along the hull and the deck detail is rife with fittings, access hatches, panel lines and deck flood slots. 

Smaller Parts
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The sail exhibits the start of the trend in Soviet boats towards the streamlining that came to fruition with the Victor and Alfa class attack boats. Sail detail is plentiful with an inset navigation position at the top of the sail. Admiralty has even included fittings inside the navigation well. The stern continues in the same fashion as the bow with plentiful hull and deck detail. The dropping stern, aft torpedo tubes, large keel and multiple dive plane positions round out the package of detail on the Admiralty Foxtrot hull casting. The smaller resin parts come on three resin runners. One has the rudder and various dive planes. The second one has the radar dome, radar dish, navigation well binnacle and snorkel muffle, while the third runner has the snorkel mast. Provided, is a small photo-etch set, which provides the propellers and various mast and deck fittings. Admiralty provides many brass rods of various diameters, which are used for the periscopes and masts. 

Decals & Instructions
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A superb decal sheet is included, which provide numerous options for the modeler. The sheet includes various jacks for the Soviet Navy, Poland , Libya , Cuba , Ukrainian Navy and India . Sail decals for the ship emblems for four specific boats, two Soviet and two Polish, are included. Also included are white hull lines, deck access hatch outlines, hull numbers, Soviet red stars and smaller deck panel outlines. The instructions come in the form of three back-printed pages. Page one has the specifications and history. Page two has a parts lay-down and general instructions. Pages three to five have the assembly instructions presented in the form of sequenced modules with 9 modules on page three, 10 on page four and 8 on page five. Page six has color for two Soviet boats and two Polish boats. The instructions are lucid and comprehensive. 

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The Admiralty Model Works 1:700 scale Project 641 Foxtrot Soviet diesel attack submarines provides two excellently detailed models of the class, one waterline and one full hull. The excellent resin castings are further supplemented with a photo-etch fret, brass rods, superb decals and comprehensive instructions.